GCLC NORTH BASKETBALL: CJ earns preseason No. 1 spot in coaches voting

Veteran coach Joe Staley likes what he’s seeing from his Chaminade Julienne High School boys basketball team.

The Eagles have been voted No. 1 in the Greater Catholic League Coed North Division preseason coaches poll and will try to live up to that ranking with a guard-heavy squad.

“We’ve got a lot of depth, especially in the backcourt. We’ve got a lot of guards that can play,” Staley said.


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Alter and defending champion Fenwick tied for second in the North poll, while Carroll was fourth.

Fenwick has arguably the North’s best player in senior forward C.J. Napier, though Alter senior guard Connor Bazelak, Carroll senior guard Matt Cogan and CJ senior guard Milton Gage were also GCLC North first-teamers last season.

Bazelak, Gage and Napier all averaged between 16.3 and 15 points per game last year. Napier topped the North in rebounding (8.8).

Alter will have some catching up to do with several players on the Knights’ state finalist football team, but the Knights return all five starters.

“I’m surprised Alter’s not No. 1,” Fenwick coach Pat Kreke said. “But I think the talent in the league is up this year. I think everybody’s got enough to win.”

“I think our division is going to be really, really good,” Staley said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if the team that finishes first has three or four losses.”

CJ went 11-15 with a number of injuries last year, and Staley said with just a little bit of luck, the Eagles could’ve been 15-11. Not that he’s all that concerned about regular-season wins … CJ’s nonleague schedule continues to be brutal.

“I care about our record in the league,” Staley said. “We play a great schedule that can really push us and make us the best team we can be by the time we get to the tournament. Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires. You can get your confidence rocked too, but we’re looking forward to it.”

The Eagles’ last North championship came in 2014-15.


Here’s how the coaches voted in the preseason Greater Catholic League Coed North Division boys basketball poll, with point totals and first-place votes (in parentheses):

1. Chaminade Julienne (2) 13

2. Alter (1) 11.5

2. Fenwick (1) 11.5

4. Carroll 4


Here’s a team-by-team preseason look at the GCLC North, with information provided by the coaches:


Coach: Joe Staley (34th season)

2017-18 Record: 11-15 overall, 5-5 GCLC North (second place, tied)

Returning Starters: Milton Gage (5-11 senior guard), Jack Hauseef (5-11 senior guard), Dominic Wilcox (6-2 senior forward)

Other Returnees: Andy Barnes (6-3 senior forward), Brandon Gibson (6-4 junior guard), Sean Menker (6-1 junior guard), Dan Nauseef (6-6 sophomore forward), A.J. Solomon (5-9 sophomore guard), Larry Turner (6-3 junior forward)

Team Strengths: Depth, quickness, 3-point shooting

Areas Of Concern: Defensive rebounding, halfcourt defense


Coach: Eric Coulter (sixth season)

2017-18 Record: 10-15 overall, 3-7 GCLC North (fourth place)

Returning Starters: Connor Bazelak (6-4 senior guard), Connor Meyer (6-3 senior center), Dominic Ruffolo (5-10 senior guard), Jack Smith (6-1 junior guard), Derek Willits (6-4 senior forward)

Top Newcomers: Rich Kolb (5-9 junior guard), Conor Stolly (6-7 junior forward), Brady Uhl (6-0 junior guard)

Team Strengths: All five starters back, depth, shooting

Area Of Concern: Consistency


Coach: Pat Kreke (30th season)

2017-18 Record: 17-7 overall, 7-3 GCLC North (first place)

Returning Starters: Caleb Davis (5-11 senior guard), C.J. Napier (6-5 senior forward)

Top Newcomer: A.J. Braun (6-8 sophomore center)

Team Strengths: Senior leadership, more height than usual

Areas Of Concern: Inexperience, lost six seniors to graduation


Coach: Tim Cogan (sixth season)

2017-18 Record: 16-10 overall, 5-5 GCLC North (second place, tied)

Returning Starters: Matt Cogan (6-4 senior guard), Simon Jefferson (6-2 senior guard), Austin Schafer (6-4 senior forward)

Top Newcomer: Jaden Dahm (6-5 junior forward)

Team Strengths: Team chemistry, very unselfish

Area Of Concern: Inconsistent offense

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